Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat - Game Four

Heat’s Spoelstra talked to Seattle Seahawks about winning

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The Seattle Seahawks are NFL title contenders.

That is a strange sentence to type, but it’s true. ProFootballTalk has them fourth in its preseason power rankings and they were probably the hottest team in football at the end of last season.

So how do you get a team over the top? Ask someone who got their team over the top, to start.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra went and talked to the Seahawks this week at the request of Pete Carroll and staff, reports Ira Winderman at the Sun-Sentinel. Quarterback Russell Wilson talked about the message.

“Just having him here in front of the team and just having him in meetings with us and having him out here in practice is an unbelievable experience for everybody,” quarterback Russell said after Tuesday’s practice, with the video of Wilson’s interview posted at the Seahawks’ website. “For him to be able to talk about how his basketball team was successful and the way that they went about their business in terms of sacrificing . . . just that whole idea of sacrificing everything, the players, LeBron [James] coming to Miami, and Dwyane Wade sacrificing all that, all that type of sacrifice that it takes to be great and to be great so often, is kind of what he talked about for the most part. And having that discipline, as well, too, is something that he talked about, and just working hard, continuing to work hard, continuing to believe in yourselves and ignore the noise.

“That’s the main message he gave. And it clicked right with us.”

Spoelstra doesn’t get enough credit in some quarters; he does more than just roll the ball out there. He is obsessive about preparation and giving his team the right information (for example his pregame white board is impressive), putting them in the right situations to succeed. Secondly, he helped manage the egos and build a culture where sacrifice to win matters — Chris Bosh could be the focal point of an average team, but he gave up the points to win, Wade sacrificed his role to LeBron James (who sacrificed money). And the rest of the role players buy in also. All of that matters.

Spoelstra has his toughest job ahead of him — the roster Heat didn’t get better this offseason (unless you believe in Greg Oden more than I do, I want to see him succeed but wouldn’t count on it). Miami is going to have to be better, be healthier with the guys already on the team.

But for now, Spoelstra should bask a little in the glow of those two titles, do a few trips like this. He’s earned it.

Markieff Morris flips off Suns fan (video)

Phoenix Suns' Markieff Morris reacts to a call during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
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Markieff Morris‘ frustrations last night didn’t end with his scuffle with teammate Archie Goodwin. They didn’t end with the Suns’ loss to the Warriors, either.

As Morris was leaving the court, a fan heckled him: “Markieff, you f—ing suck. I can’t wait until you’re traded.” Though Morris probably agrees with the second sentence, he flipped off the fan:

Though it’s difficult to confirm that video was from last night, it jibes with a previous report of the incident.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7

Morris will likely at least be fined. Considering his previous behavioral problems this season – he threw a towel at Jeff Hornacek – I wouldn’t completely rule out a suspension. But a fine seems most likely.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.